City of Houston clears out homeless encampment for new bus parking lot

ByStefania Okolie KTRK logo
Saturday, November 3, 2018
Mayor orders Midtown homeless encampment shut down
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Mayor orders Midtown homeless encampment shut down

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has ordered the cleanup of the Midtown homeless encampment on Wheeler at Caroline that's plagued the city for years.

A METRO Houston bus was brought in on Friday morning to carry dozens of homeless away from the area. The city says they will all be given the opportunity to go to shelters with the help of The Way Home Coalition, but only a handful of people appeared to be taking the city up on that offer.

Mayor Turner cites crime and predators, along with filth, pests and health hazards, as reasons behind the move.

"The population of the Wheeler encampment under a freeway overpass near Midtown dwindled recently to about 45 people but has continued to attract predators seeking to victimize its very vulnerable population," Mayor Turner said. "Today, the city and its compassionate partners are taking extra steps to place homeless people in shelter beds with their consent and eliminate hazards created by the property's use as an unofficial outdoor living space."

The property beneath the freeway overpass will be fenced off and converted into a bus parking lot.

VIDEO: Crews arrive to move dozens of homeless out

On Tuesday, the city placed notices at the encampment informing residents that the area would no longer be available for their use. In addition to transportation to shelters, the city provided storage for many of the residents' belongings.